Local youth gets free hot air balloon ride | SteamboatToday.com

Local youth gets free hot air balloon ride

Alexis DeLaCruz

When Steve Colby went to the Mountain Valley Bank, he didn’t think he would be offered a free hot air balloon ride.

Colby is a senior partner with Partners in Routt County, a program that matches adult mentors with local youths.

This week, Colby went into the bank and began talking to Dean Vogelaar, the bank’s senior vice president, about the Partners program. Vogelaar then donated a balloon ride package for today’s balloon rodeo to Colby and his junior partner.

“I’ve enjoyed watching the relationship between Steve and his partner develop over the years and think it was a good opportunity to donate something unusual,” he said.

Unfortunately, Colby could not accept the gift because his junior partner is out of town, but he encouraged Vogelaar to donate the package, which included tickets to Friday’s barbecue, a balloon ride, shirts and buttons, to Partners in Routt County so that another pair could go.

“I think it’s a really quality program, and I wanted to give someone an opportunity they might not ever have,” Vogelaar said.

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Libby Foster is the case manager for the program and was thrilled when she got the news that a pair of Partners would be getting the opportunity to experience the balloon rodeo.

“It’s nice of the community to think of us and be moved by what we do, and that donation really demonstrates that,” Foster said.

When Foster heard about the donation, the program selected one team out of the 45 active partnerships to receive the donation.

Foster, along with program coordinator Julia Van–Benthuysen, selected Chris Selby and Ricky Sasak to receive the donation.

“They’re such a great team, and they’re always up for a new adventure,” Foster said.

Sasak, 17, and Selby, 40, have been partners for more than two years.

Sasak was shocked to find out that he was going to be riding in a hot air balloon.

“It’s really exciting because I’ve always wanted to do it,” Sasak said.

Sasak said getting up early to be there wouldn’t be a problem because he gets up early every day.

“I am a little nervous because of the heights, though,” he said.

Sasak was glad that Vogelaar made the donation to the program.

“I think it’s amazing. I can’t believe he did that,” Sasak said.

Vogelaar was given the package as part of a sponsorship deal made with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. The team will be riding in the balloon “Fiesta Sunrise.”

“It’s better one of them use it than one of us,” Vogelaar said.

Selby was equally surprised to hear about the donation.

“I think it’s an incredible opportunity, and we’re really lucky,” he said.

Selby and Sasak see each other about three times a week. Right now, they are both riding in the Town Challenge biking series, and they also do a lot of snowboarding in the winter.

“My role as a mentor is to go out and do all these things and have fun,” Selby said.

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